October 2013 - Staring into the Abyss: The Dark Side of Security and Professional Intelligence


Nothing is harder to see than things we believe so deeply we don't even see them. This is certainly true in the "security space," in which our narratives are self-referential, bounded by mutual self-interest, and characterized by a heavy dose of group-think. We become assimilated by the conversation and cease to see the bigger picture.

An analysis of deeper political and economic structures reveals that narrative, and therefore, our core beliefs in a new context, which illuminates mixed motivations and the interpenetration of overworlds and underworlds in our society. This analysis will make you hesitate before uncritically using the buzzwords and jargon of the profession - words like "security," "defense," and "cyberwar" - and thinking in a binary fashion about good guys and bad guys. By the end of this presentation, simplistic distinctions between foreign and domestic, natural and artificial, and us and them will have gone liquid while the complexities of information security - and our lives - remain ... and challenge us personally and professionally in a world without walls.


Richard Thieme

Richard Thieme (thiemeworks.com) is an author and professional speaker focused on the deeper implications of technology, religion, and science for twenty-first century life. He has published hundreds of articles, dozens of short stories, three books with more coming, and has delivered hundreds of speeches. A novel, FOAM, is in progress, and "A Richard Thieme Reader," collecting fiction and non-fiction, interviews and book reviews, will be published in 2013. Many of his speeches address creativity, shifts in individual and global identities, and technology-related security and intelligence issues. He has spoken for eighteen years at the Black Hat Briefings and Def Con security cons and keynoted conferences in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Malaysia, Israel, South Africa, Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, England, Ireland), and all around the USA.


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